Easy to consume in just one or two bites, these truffles, cookies, chocolates, and other sweets make elegant treats for entertaining.
Candied Orange Peels
Bitter citrus rinds are transformed into a candy-sweet, chocolate-dipped confection.
Phyllo pastry layered with ground nuts luxuriating in sweet syrup is a centuries-old dessert that now exists in many variations throughout the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean.
“…while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.” The famous sugar plums spoken about in Clement Clark Moore’s beloved poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” were actually sugar-coated coriander. Later the recipe changed and included other spices and dried fruit. This recipe is based on the confection we know today. Sugar plums tend to absorb the powdered sugar, so redust just before eating, if you like. See this Recipe David Sawyer
Pure sugar syrup heated to the hard-crack stage becomes a hard, translucent candy. In this recipe, the addition of butter produces an opaque candy with a silkier but still crunchy texture.
This chocolate-coated, fondant-centered candy is best enjoyed with a mug of hot cocoa.
Coconut Candy Bars
For these chewy, sweet bars, paraffin wax–a now mostly forgotten candy-making ingredient–is mixed with chocolate so that it will set properly when cooled and take on a shiny appearance.
Stained-Glass Window Candies
This recipe is a version of one that Sue Raye, SAVEUR Kitchen Director Liz Pearson’s mother, clipped from a neighborhood newsletter in the 1980s.
These chocolatey confections are what author Shane Mitchell calls “Southern truffles–boozy and bad to the bone.”
Dredging these melt-in-your-mouth cookies twice–first while still warm and again after they’ve cooled–insures a generous covering of powdery sugar.
Chewy caramel topped with crushed peppermint candies is one of many versions of kola, a kind of semisoft toffee adored all over Sweden.
Mini caramels flavored with almond, orange zest, and syrup make simple, delicious treats (and wonderful gifts).
When making these truffles, use supermarket-quality white chocolate, which has more stabilizers than expensive brands and sets up better.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cordials
Invertase, a liquid enzyme that’s found in small bottles at most candy-making supply stores, is used in these candies to liquefy the luscious fondant filling. Once you’ve made the cordials, it will take about ten days for the filling to liquefy. We based this recipe on one found in Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections (Wiley, 2010). For more Valentine’s Day recipes, check out our guide. Get the recipe for Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cordials »
Hazelnut and Apricot Rochers
Hazelnut liqueur adds an extra-sweet, nutty flavor to chopped hazelnuts, dried apricots, and semi-sweet chocolate.
Cardamom-Laced Milk Chocolate Truffles
We based this recipe on one that appears in Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections (Wiley, 2010). Feel free to improvise with the coating, using other kinds of ground spices, nuts, or chili powder. Make sure to keep all your materials cold while you’re mixing and shaping the truffles, so that the candies keep their shape; if they get too warm, refrigerate ingredients for 5-10 minutes. Get the recipe for Cardamom-Laced Milk Chocolate Truffles »
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)
Akin to Mexican wedding cookies and Greek kourabiedes, these Austrian vanilla crescents made with ground walnuts and showered in confectioners’ sugar are served throughout central Europe during the weeks leading up to Christmas. See the recipe for Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents) »
Shortbread Cookies (Punitions)
Traditional French shortbread cookies taste best using a good salted butter with a high butterfat content, such as Kerrygold.
Perfumed with floral lavender, these fragile, crispy thin wafers are a delicate cookie to serve on their own or as a crisp contrast to creamy desserts like crème brulée, pudding, or pie. See the recipe for Lavender Tuiles »
Modeled after the classic Creamsicle, these orange meringue kisses sandwiched with buttery white chocolate are a lively and bright addition to the holiday cookie spread.
Pine Nut Brittle
Crunchy, salty, and rosemary-scented, pine nut brittle makes a great gift.
Crumbly powdered sugar coated cookies made with chopped pecans are often served at Southern weddings. This recipe, from Georgia home cook Tweet Moore, first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Wendell Brock’s story Southern Belle.